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Gavel Banging

Welcome to the Ocean Beach DOG Weblog...

This weblog serves as an online journal whose primary purpose is to compile responses to the various court filings and press releases produced by the Center for Biological Diversity's staff attorney Brent Plater.  Mr. Plater's agenda calls for the complete ban of off leash recreation in all GGNRA areas. In order to accomplish his objective,  the Center for Biological Diversity has aligned itself with various groups Mr. Plater has arbitrarily designated as "animal welfare organizations". Evidence will bear out that nothing could be further from the truth.... 
 
Please be sure to visit: http://brentplaterunleashed.blogspot.com and http://brentplaterpromotions.blogspot.com for more information on this subject.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Judge Alsup Speaks...
CDB's petition cites an "emergency" in the GGNRA to justify the ban of off-leash recreation completely from the GGNRA.  Judge Alsup's decision, however, states:  "And, the government concedes that there was no 'emergency' within the meaning of Section 1.5(b)" of 36 Code of Federal Regulations.  (Order of Affirmance, page 6, lines 17-18.)  No emergency, no legal basis for a ban.
 
Courtesy of member attorney Steve Sayad
4:48 pm pdt

An Open Letter to Guide Dogs for the Blind
Dear Ms. Barak,
 
I am stunned that Guide Dogs for the Blind is supporting the petition for an emergency ban on off-leash recreation in all GGNRA parks.  I have a former Guide Dogs breeder, Stephanie.  The highlight of every day of Miss Stephanie's life was to run off-leash at Fort Funston.  Her off-leash recreation kept her healthy and socialized.  Because she was healthy, she produced large, healthy litters.
 
Have you ever been to any of the GGNRA parks?  Have you seen the joy shared by the dogs and their owners?  Have you seen how responsible these dog owners are?  Are you aware of the care these individuals take of these parks?  Have you seen the bond that has developed among dog owners who have walked their dogs in these parks for decades?  Do you have any idea how special these parks are to the hundreds of dog owners who use them every day of every year?
 
I have financially supported Guide Dogs for the past four years.  I can assure you that Guide Dogs will not receive another dime of my money, due to this irresponsible position you have taken.  I don't know what your motivation is, but it certainly doesn't seem to be the welfare of the dogs who benefit from off-leash recreation in the GGNRA parks.
 
Thank you for your careful consideration of the above.
 
Lydia Boesch
 
Editor's note: Lydia Bosch is one of the attorneys that assisted in the early (2000) fight to maintain our off-leash rights according to the 1979 Pet Policy. She now lives in North Carolina and watches the National Park Service and Judge Alsup's actions from there.
11:16 am pdt

An Open Letter to Bob Egelko ( SF Chronicle)
Dear Bob
 
    For several years I was an attorney representing the SF SPCA in this controversy with the National Park Service over off-leash recreation in the GGNRA.  You can obtain background regarding the controversy by perusing Chronicle articles, particularly ones written by Peter Fimrite.  More detailed information on the historical facts can be found in my 40 page Comment for the Advanced Notice of Propsed Rulemaking located at Ocean Beach Dog web site. 
 
    The web site also contains scientific articles and NPR reports regarding the interaction of off leash dogs and the snowy plover at Ocean Beach.  The Daphne Hatch NPR report on the snowy plover summarizing over one survey at Ocean Beach shows that numbers of plovers at Ocean Beach increased while off leash recreation was permitted throughout the entire beach.  Furthermore direct interaction between off leash dogs and plovers was de minibus, over 5000 dogs were observed and only 19 were detected chasing plovers.  Over 99% of the dogs had no impact on the birds.  Nevertheless, much of Ocean Beach was closed to off leash recreation in 1997.  Since that time the number of birds roosting on the beach plummeted, at least during the years I have data (See Comment for detail).  It's unclear at this time what impact the Judge's ruling will have on this section of Ocean Beach closed un the rationale of protecting the plovers.  But if the leash regulation is lifted, the reintroduction of off leash dogs in this roosting area (the birds nest on the Bay not at Ocean Beach) will have no impact the polver colony. in fact, Ranger hatch admitted this during meetings over the initial closure.
 
    As for Crissy Field, you can find detailed citations to historical documents confirming that the National Park Service agreed to provide over 60 acres of off leash recreation in the so-called habitat restoration area.  They agreed to do so because their fund raising efforts to finance the restoration was not successful until there was a clarification over continued off-leash use of portions of this area.    The entire restoration project was funded by private contributions.   Donations were made contingent upon the promise that 60 acres would be available to the public for this recreation.  Plater and the other parties to the petition would now undue that promise and appropriate the entire area for their own purpose. 
 
Sincerely yours
 
Ken Ayers  
10:04 am pdt

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

An Open Letter to Guide Dogs for the Blind
Ms. Barak:
 
I trust you and your organization has a full and complete understanding of the backdrop for what I understand is a request by various groups (most of whom happened to appear as amici on the appeal in United States v. Barley, et al.) for an emergency regulation to impose 36 CFR 2.15(a)(2) in the areas currently subject to the GGNRA's 1979 Pet Policy, a voice-control policy that encompasses less than one percent of the GGNRA lands.
 
The issues currently being raised by these organizations were raised on appeal and implicitly rejected by the Court.  The purported evidence upon which Mr. Plater relies was objected to by the defendants but not stricken by the Court.  The Court asked the prosecution (which Mr. Plater's clients were aligned with) whether they were claiming an emergency existed in order to obviate compliance with 36 CRF 1.5 and the U.S. Attorney (counsel for the Department of Interior and NPS) said "no."  Mr. Plater could have interjected a contrary position but did not.
 
Now, these organizations are attempting to achieve through the real party in interest in the litigation (the NPS) to have it issue an emergency regulation when its own attorneys made clear to the Court that no emergency exists.
 
While these organizations may not yet be in contempt of Court, their actions are contemptuous and their alleged evidence supports no change in policy absent full public notice, full public hearing, and action that is not arbitrary in light of the public comment.  The process set forth in 36 CFR 1.5 is a very democratic one, but the organizations that Mr, Plater represents have no interest in acting fairly; they will do whatever it takes to push their position on everyone.
 
It is sad if you and your organization fall for such a prank; rest assured that if you do, you too will be exposed for any such fraudulent conduct.
 
Sincerely,
 
Stephen Sayad

8:31 am pdt

CBD Recruits Guide Dogs for the Blind
CBD At It Again! 
Yes, the Center for Biological Diversity, and their mouthpiece, attorney Brent Plater, are at it again  Along with the usual cast of characters, (i.e., Golden Gate Audobon Society, Coleman Advocates, the Sierra Club, EQUP, Yerba Buena Chapter of the Calif. Native Plant Society, etc.) the CBD has issued a press release announcing their submission of a petition calling for an emergency ban of off-leash recreation throughout the GGNRA. 
 
One comes to expect such "end run" tactics from these groups since that has been their practice throughout the years. Their complete and uttter contempt of court (i.e., Judge Alsup's appellate decision reinstating the 1979 GGNRA Pet Policy), as well as their making a total mockery of the prescribed Negotiated Rulemaking Process (their press release cites that NR is for the express purpose "to implement leash laws"), tells one all they need to know about the petitioners. 
 
However, the recruitment of Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) to assist in their bidding is disturbing. GDB is an organization that has historically enjoyed great support from the dog community. It would appear that GDB has no problem asking that dogs make great sacrifices for us and our handicapped, yet they can't seem to find it in their hearts to provide these heroes a place to play fetch or to swim. 
 
Please take the earliest opportunity to let Guide Dogs for the Blind know how you feel about their participation in this matter.  Let them know about the financial ramifications of their decision. GDB contact information follows:
 
Tamara Barak
Communications Specialist
Guide Dogs for the Blind
415 499-4000
 
 
 
8:25 am pdt

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